Boomkat Product Review:
Buh unearths another astonishing collection of Peruvian history on this eye-wateringly good set of genre-bursting traditional Amazonian ensemble music from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
In the 1960s, the music that emerged from the Peruvian jungle was a flexible blend of indigenous Amazonion styles - such as pandilla, chimaychi, and sitaracuy, forms that rotate around carnival and festival traditions - and music that seeped in from elsewhere. There was huayno from the Andes, creole waltz from the Peruvian coast, cumbia from Colombia, samba and tanguiño from Brazil and sanjuanitos from Ecuador that all made an impact on Peru's evolving indigenous sounds. "Alrededor de la Húmisha" captures this fascinating time period, collecting rare recordings from a handful of local groups that got to record for the country's main labels in the 1970s and 1980s.
The music presented here is revelatory; without a firm background in its root elements, there's a sense of wonder as you're hearing local instruments - like the quena, a traditional Andean flute - combined with percussion, saxophone, guitar, clarinet and violin. The songs dip and dive into familiar and unfamiliar tempos, absorbing beats from adjacent cultures and dissolving them into carnivalesque celebrations of local culture. The earliest recording presented here is 'Alegria en la Selva' from Conjunto Típico Corazón de la Selva; released in 1966, it combines celebratory folk forms - played on violin and quena - with kinetic rhythms and evocative vocal chants. In contrast, Dúo Loreto's 1967 recording 'La Leyenda del Pífano' is more horizontal, spinning a woozy narrative using plucked acoustic guitar and soaring, romantic vocals.
The later material dips into weirder places, like Los Guacamayos' 'Recuerdos de Selva', a stripped down percussion-heavy quena jam that sounds as if it coulda tripped and fallen off a Madlib beat tape, or Los Ribereños del Huallaga's 1983-released 'Pífano Humano' that builds on a rousing beat to provoke a celebratory, ritualistic mood. The anthology's most recent recording is the album's finale, a 2002 piece from Los Hijos de Lamas that shows these hybrid folk-pop forms are still informing the DNA of Peruvian music.
Essential listening, incredible music..